On Monday, China announced that six new pilot free trade zones (FTZs) will be established across the country.
In an effort to improve trade ties and broaden the influence of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has granted pilot FTZs to Yunnan, Guangxi, Heilongjiang, Shandong, Jiangsu and Hebei provinces, according to South China Morning Post. Now, China’s pilot FTZs stretch from the country’s southernmost province of Hainan to its northern border in Heilongjiang, and as far west as Sichuan.
State-run media outlet Xinhua reported on Tuesday that this marks the first time the PRC has established pilot FTZs in the country’s border areas. Han Jian, a professor at Nanjing University Business School, told Xinhua that these special trade zones will have more autonomy in policy decisions concerning trade and investment, among other aspects of the economy. The latest move is said to be a “part of the country’s ongoing efforts to open up the economy amid rising protectionism.”
Back in 2013, Shanghai was named the first pilot FTZ in China, followed by free trade zones in Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian two years later. In 2017, Liaoning, Zhejiang, Henan, Hubei, Chongqing, Sichuan and Shaanxi joined the growing list. The following year Hainan joined the ranks, and now six more provinces have been extended FTZs to help build their local economies. Each of China’s coastal provinces now has a pilot FTZ.
With more than half of the country’s provinces now home to pilot FTZs, Caijing.com conducted an online poll to see how many peoples’ hometowns made the list, with nearly three quarters of respondents claiming a pilot FTZ in their province.
Earlier this month, SCMP reported that Shanghai’s FTZ was expanded to include Lingang, an area on the southeast tip of Shanghai and linked to Yangshan Deep-Water Port, which is part of the Port of Shanghai, via bridge. American electric car manufacturer Tesla’s USD2 billion Gigafactory 3 is located in the newly extended FTZ area, which will now benefit from special tax policies applied for goods entering from abroad.
[Cover image via @视界旅行家/Weibo]